Mahony and Curry Removed from Public Duties

by Dave Schuler on February 1, 2013

The present archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese, Jose Gomez has announced that his predecessor, Roger Cardinal Mahony, has been removed from public duties and that the present bishop of the Santa Barbara diocese, Thomas J. Curry has stepped down:

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez on Thursday announced dramatic actions in response to the priest abuse scandal, saying that Cardinal Roger Mahony would no longer perform public duties in the church and that Santa Barbara Bishop Thomas J. Curry, has stepped down.

Gomez said in a statement that Mahony — who led the L.A. archdiocese from 1985 to 2011 — “will no longer have any administrative or public duties.”

Gomez also announced the church has released a trove of confidential church files detailing how the Los Angeles archdiocese dealt with priests accused of molestation.

Gomez wrote in a letter to parishioners that the files would be disturbing to read.

“I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil. There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed,” he wrote. “We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today.”

Gomez’s statement came a week after the release of internal Catholic church records. The records showed 15 years before the clergy sex abuse scandal came to light, Mahony and Curry discussed ways to conceal the molestation of children from law enforcement. Those records represent just a fraction of the files the church released Thursday. The Times is now reviewing those files.

I think that Cardinal Mahony and Bishop Curry and anyone else involved in child sexual abuse or its cover-up should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and I think that many if not most other Catholics feel the same way. I think that such prosecutions should include prosecutions for conspiracy.

It is my understanding that the crime of conspiracy continues as long as the conspiracy is ongoing, which means that the statute of limitations does not apply until after the last overt act in the conspiracy was committed.

The church hierarchy is not above the law. They should be required to report all credible instances of child abuse, just as teachers or physicians are.

On the other hand I find the flood of Know-Nothing anti-Catholic sentiment that these terrible cases provoke very hurtful. Don’t condemn all Catholics for actions that they abhor as much as you do and which were beyond their control.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

PD Shaw February 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I’m all for prosecuting any crimes that have been committed, but I don’t think we should necessarily expect much. Here is a blog dedicated to an important Philadelphia Priest abuse case, where none of the jurors were convinced of conspiracy, but did convict on a count of child endangerment.

http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/06/jury-didnt-buy-prosecutions-grand.html

The conspiracy count apparently failed because none of the jurors believed that refusing to disclose abuse or moving predator priests around were part of a specific design to further more child abuse. Moving a priest to a position of trust over other children was apparently enough for the child endangerment, but there may be good grounds to reverse on appeal because the law does not appear to have applied to mid-level managers at the time. If teachers and physicians have a duty to warn of suspected child abuse, its not obvious that their supervisors do as well.

sam February 1, 2013 at 2:36 pm

As I said to my wife the other night, the folks in the pews aren’t the problem, The Catholic Church, Inc. and its Board of Directors is the problem.

PD Shaw February 1, 2013 at 4:35 pm

My take-away from looking at some of the background documents is the sentences are too damn low. Three years max for molesting a child? The fact there were dozens of victims admitted to, but were barred by the statute of limitations, bears on the need to have strong sentences because perps that groom child victims (many were illegal immigrants to boot), you may only get once chance and its still a gamble. And they may not be rehabilitateable.

Andy February 1, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I don’t know what would happen to me psychologically if someone who molested my child got less than three years – and I don’t want to know.

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